Right The Stars is more than a band, it’s a community in the best sense: a constellation of writers, musicians and producers all gathered into a powerful vision by multifaceted singer/songwriter/producer Rich Jacques. At a time when almost anyone can make a record, creating one that stands apart from the competent crowd is the challenge. Yet that’s exactly what Jacques has done. By inviting a talented array of LA artists to collaborate, contribute and push him to the limits, he’s created a uniquely anthemic and atmospheric sound for The Only Thing that could only be Right The Stars. The project started 2009, and its tunes have graced commercials for Honda and Pixar/Xbox, as well as TV show like Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill, Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries, this new release represents a defining artistic statement.
Despite the new school, almost hip-hop approach to collaboration, The Only Thing is a surprisingly old school, cohesive album. Yeah it opens up with a punch you in the gut single, a title track that argues for the power of love with honey hook melodies soaring over propulsive tribal rhythms. And yeah, it doesn’t back off, with This Is Our Time creating a pulsing, contagious, unifying call to exultation: “we can take the saddest songs, sing them at the top of our lungs.” But then as the collection evolves from the Depeche inflected dark distorted bass of Letter To God to the Bowie meets Moby meets Moroder apocalyptic seduction of Kiss You Like The End Of The World, it becomes increasingly apparent that Jacques is after more than just singles.
Instead the record creates mood, arc, takes the listener on a sonic and lyrical trip. Heck, it even has a side two, where the bubbling atmospheric disco of Dreamtime rings in the album’s second chapter of “beauty in the breakthrough.” While the back half is no less full of pop confection, it’s also a dreamier affair. Tracks like Made Of Stars evoke the hypnotic sway of the best of Silversun Pickups, like a soundtrack for a desert drive under a canopy of night: “afraid but not far, from who we really are, cause baby we are made of stars.” Jacques’ years of Vedic meditation surface thematically in lyrics throughout, and get special attention on songs like Don’t Let Me Go To Sleep. This mesmerizing collaboration with Jeff Trott and Samantha Stollenwerck, takes the modern Americana those artists are known for and transforms it into an ethereal, pulsing electronic mantra to stay awake in the moment.
Right The Stars may represent a singular vision, but Jacques isn’t shy about the crucial role collaboration has played in its evolution. For this new record he invited manager Bennett Freed to A&R and challenge the writing, the production, the song selection at every step. And while Jacques confesses that, “no artist wants to be told what works or what doesn’t work,” he knows that the process yielded undeniable results. He and Aron Friedman relentlessly rewrote The Only Thing several times, and then fully produced five different versions before handing the track over to Eric Rosse (Sara Bareilles, Tori Amos) for final mixing mastery. The proof as they say is in the music. Friedman can also be heard throughout the collection as a co-writer and synth texture wizard, as well as in his influence on Jacques’ own evolved approach to keys and programming. The record also embraces other co-writes from Kiss You Like The End Of The World with legendary producer Matt Wallace(Maroon 5), to a trio of songs co-penned with members of The Rescues: Kyler England on This Is Our Time, Adrian Gonzales on Almost Too Much, and Rob Giles on Girls In Paris. In each case the co-writers also played on the resulting tracks, becoming de facto band members in the Right The Stars constellation of luminaries.
If you don’t yet know Right The Stars’ previous releases, or somehow haven’t heard the music in one of its 35 licenses for commercials, TV and movies, now is the time to tune in. The 3rd full-length album, The Only Thing, is an entrancing and infectious musical statement that’s sure to win converts. The record will be released October 14, 2014.